Is Hiring a Friend a Good Idea?

You have an open position on your team or in your company, and you know someone that would be perfect for the job. In fact, they are actually searching for a job right now and this would help them out tremendously. Only problem is, they’re your friend- and a good friend at that. It’s a question that a lot of people in the working world have asked themselves before: is it a good idea to hire a friend?

There are a lot of conflicting ideas on the topic and a lot of people will say, “Absolutely not!” right off the bat. However, if the situation is right and you can maintain a professional demeanor, it may not be such a bad idea. There are a couple of things you need to consider though before you decide to hire a good friend of yours.

First and foremost, you need to remember that regardless of how close you are with your friend, hiring them may change the dynamic of your friendship. You are opting to bring them into a part of your world that they would otherwise be separated from, and that can cause many issues. In the same respect, it could change how you feel at work as well. If you hire your friend and they end up not working out, it could reflect poorly on you with superiors and other team members. That said, let’s take a look at some of the things you should deeply consider before you decide to hire a friend.

Work Relationship
For starters, you should assess what your working relationship would be with your friend if you decided to go ahead and hire them. Will they be directly under you, or are you simply hiring them for a position in another department? If you are hiring them for another department, then it may be much easier to go through with hiring a friend. However, if you are their direct manager and they have to follow your orders or directions, things could get really tricky. Right away the dynamic of your friendship may be altered if there are different power levels between the two of you. If you never worked together before, then most likely your friendship was based on an equal level of respect. If you are suddenly placed on a level above your friend, your friendship may really be comprised.

On top of that, it may be very difficult for you or your friend to maintain a professional relationship in the office. If you have to give them directions and they do not follow them, how do you deal with the situation? Do you let it slide because you don’t want to reprimand your friend? If you take this course of action, you may be compromising your own job.

Qualifications
If you decide that you can, in fact, maintain a professional relationship at work and are fine with having to give your friend orders then you have to think about their qualifications next. Are they truly qualified to fill this position? They are your friend, so you may carry a biased opinion. Before hiring a friend, have a coworker or another member of the team take a look at their resume and application. Do they think they are qualified enough to fill the position? What issues do they have with their resume or past work experience? If it turns out that other HR professionals or coworkers don’t think your friend is qualified, then you may have to move on and pass on hiring them.

Professionalism
If your friend checks out on all levels and other managers feel as though they are qualified to fill this role, then the last thing you need to consider is if you can still be professional with a friend on your team. Friendship is an important factor in everyone’s life, but so is your job or your career. If this is a very good friend of yours, chances are you are very close and know much and more about each other. You have spent time with each other, and it has probably never been in a professional setting.

If you choose to hire a friend, then you need to be sure that you do not treat them any different than your other employees or team members. In order to maintain a professional reputation at work you cannot show favoritism for your friend over other employees. As stated earlier, this can be very difficult if you are their boss and you must reprimand them for mistakes made or issues with their work. If you aren’t professional and show favoritism to your friend, you can create ripples within the team and have many and more issues to deal with. This can in turn make your work life miserable. On top of that, if your friendship is compromised, your personal life can get pretty miserable as well.

Hiring a friend is, of course, your decision in the end, but you need to be sure you think it through very carefully. Mixing your personal life with your professional life can make things very difficult for you on many different levels. However, if you think you can deal with all of the obvious cons, then hiring a friend may be great for both you and your friend.

Have you ever considered hiring a friend? Have you hired a friend in the past? How did it work out? Let us know about it in the comments section below!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by Yandle